A horrible hack

Barbaro

Nolte

Year Released: 2004
Format: CD
Label: Dopamine Records
 
Reviewed by Kunal Nandi on Jun 13, 2007
Barbaro were (for they are yet another band that has joined the great jamming room in the sky), in my opinion, the natural inheritors of Jawbox’s innate ability for writing eminently hummable yet structurally complex songs. Coming from Boston, during a time when bands like Cave In and Converge were honing their chops, perhaps their background is of a heavier, more metallic nature. In fact, Barbaro released an excellent 7”on HydraHead before this album (their second), but with this band, melody is still at the root of their genius.

The array of styles on display here is perhaps down to a recording schedule that was spread over two years. Bassist/vocalist Andrew Schneider (a.k.a. the man who nailed the greatest distorted guitar tone ever on Milligram’s “This Is Class War”) is perhaps better known as a producer for many Boston acts, so he could probably get lots of cheap studio time. It does lead to a lack of cohesiveness across the album, with the band entering the old “fast song, then slow song, then quiet song” routine. These attempts at eclecticism are largely successful though, with a high killer to filler ratio, so I won’t be skipping many of these tracks out when I give it future spins.

The second song, “My Teeth Are Falling Out” could well be one of the best rock songs ever written. Mixing Come’s jangling, jagged experimental guitar work and strapping it to an up-tempo beast of a poly-rhythm provided by a rock-solid but very free rhythm section, and then having a sweeeeet melody alternately belted out and crooned by a forceful and distinctive female vocalist creates a heavenly piece of rock history. Barbaro’s usual approach is not as fast though, with deliberately paced, yet heavy, yet melodic tunes, propelled by two vocalists (one male, one the aforementioned female) that augment each other and the music at times, and duel when the music gets suitably violent.

This is an excellent album. Get it for God’s sake!

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